nrl

Club by Club: 2016 NRL Fan Engagement and Fan Experience Activations

The 2016 National Rugby League season gets underway this week and fans across Australia and New Zealand are gearing up for what will be another exciting season of rugby league action on the field.

Conversely, there is plenty going on off the field as the teams all look to find new and creative ways to engage with their members both in the stadium and online.

I have put together a quick list of what each of the NRL clubs are doing to improve the fan experience in 2016 and it’s safe to say that there’s plenty of exciting fan engagement activations taking place at whichever club you support.

Have you seen something else that your club is doing to improve the match day and digital fan experience? Hit me up and I’ll add it to the list.

NRL

The NRL Bunker is a new addition to the match day coverage that is the most state-of-the-art video referral technology in Australian sport and is set to revolutionise the game’s decision review system and provide a better viewing experience for fans.

NRL Bunker

NRL Bunker

NRL Bunker

NRL Bunker

NRL Fantasy offers fans:

  • Over $350,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs
  • Winner claims $15,000 and the official NRL Fantasy Champions ring.
  • Enjoy match day Thursday’s and new interactive polling page
NRL Fantasy Ring

NRL Fantasy Ring

Brisbane Broncos

The Bronc’s had one of Brisbane’s City Cat’s decorated in their colours.

Broncos

Broncos

The free Broncos app features:

– An iOS design theme & layout optimised for the latest iPhone & iPad devices.
– Push Notifications to keep you updated with breaking news, score alerts & match info.

As well as News – Videos – Photo Galleries – Season Draw By Month / By Round (upload every Broncos game to your device calendar) – NRL & NYC Ladders – Team & Player Stats – Broncos Twitter (team & player accounts) – Match Tickets – Broncos Website – Broncos Membership – Broncos Superstore – Community – NRL Fantasy – NRL Tipping.

Broncos App

Broncos App

Broncos App

Canterbury Bulldogs

‘The Breed’ is the new match day activation from the Bulldogs with the club revealing each of these players through fan’s Instagram accounts.
The fans favourite Bulldogs players have been turned into Superheroes, showcasing their unique skills and reflecting their strong personalities and traits. More here The Breed

Cb35JkgUsAASR_e Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 8.34.37 am Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 8.34.09 am

Canterbury fans can also pick up free posters.

Bulldogs

Bulldogs

The  Dogs of Rewards loyalty program is worth a look to see how the club rewards fans.

The dogs have the ’18th Jersey Honour Roll’ which is a giant 18 jersey that will be displayed at the northern end of all Bulldogs home games at ANZ Stadium as a permanent reminder to every one of the contribution of Bulldogs fans.

Bulldogs 18 Jersey Honour Roll

Bulldogs 18 Jersey Honour Roll

The updated Bulldogs App features:

– Match highlights
– Picture galleries from every game
– Latest news, table and fixtures
– Push notifications for breaking news and live score updates
– Player profiles

Bulldogs App

Bulldogs App

Canberra Raiders

The raiders have run a comp for fans to design the team jersey.

Canberra Raiders

Canberra Raiders

Canberra Raiders Jersey Design Comp

Canberra Raiders Jersey Design Comp

Raiders members can also get their names on the banner that the team runs through each game.

Canberra Raiders

Canberra Raiders

The Raiders app features:

  • Access to the latest Raiders news, videos and photo galleries
  • 2015 Telstra Premiership draw and fixtures presented in a round or calendar format
  • Ladder for the Telstra Premiership and NYC
  • Full squad list with player profiles
  • Push notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates
  • Access to all Raiders related sites, including membership and ticketing
Raiders App

Raiders App

Fans can follow the Raiders on SnapChat too.

Raiders on SnapChat

Raiders on SnapChat

North Queensland Cowboys

The Cowboys have held a community day for fans.

NQ Cowboys

NQ Cowboys

The Cowboys have ‘Full Time: Field Time’ at the end of every home game where fans can play on the field. Full Time Field Time

The free NQ Cowboys App features:

  • A brand new design and layout optimised for all Android Smartphone (2.3+) and Tablet (4.1+) devices
  • Access to the latest team news, videos and photo galleries
  • Telstra Premiership draw and fixtures presented in a round or calendar format
  • Ladder for the Telstra Premiership and NYC
  • Full squad list with player profiles
  • Push notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates
  • Integrated Twitter feeds from the official team and player accounts
  • Access to all team-related sites, including membership, Cowboys Team Shop and ticketing

Melbourne Storm

The Storm have launched their 2016 Lightning Rewards program which is the best Australian sports fan rewards program. More info here Lightning Rewards

Lightning Rewards

Lightning Rewards

Storm 'Lightning Rewards'

Storm ‘Lightning Rewards’

Melbourne Storm 'Lightning Rewards'

Melbourne Storm ‘Lightning Rewards’

As part of Lightning Rewards, users will accrue points during the season for completing actions online, as well as earning points on game day at AAMI Park. As you build up your points balance, you will hit new reward levels.  At each level, a new reward will be made available to you.  The higher the level, the better the reward!

Lightning Rewards is a loyalty program designed to reward all of our loyal members. In 2016 the Storm have some great new additions, including following your favourite players live in-game stats to help you earn points!

The Storm offer training tips for fans here: Storm Training Tips

The new look Storm app and their SnapChat account are also worth a look. Storm SnapChat and Storm App

Storm App

Storm App

Storm SnapChat

Storm SnapChat

Melbourne also called on members to be apart of their biggest ever TV commercial.

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

The Storm have also held a member’s day as have many of the other NRL clubs.

Storm Family Day

Storm Family Day

New Zealand Warriors

Warriors fans had a chance to feature in the team photo.

NZ Warriors

NZ Warriors

Memories of the Vodafone Warriors’ stellar 2002 season have been evoked with the release of the club’s heritage strip for the 2016 NRL season produced by club sponsor Canterbury of New Zealand.

NZ Warriors

NZ Warriors

South Sydney Rabbitohs 

Souths held a mystery player signing session which is a bit of a clever idea to draw the fans/members out.

Souths

Souths

Souths fans can win an exciting fan experience by having the opportunity to hang out in the player’s enclosure during matches in 2016.

Souths

Souths

Souths have a ’Ticket Frenzy’ offer for fans to win free tickets.

Souths

Souths

The SS junior fan zone is a digital site for young fans that features memory and colouring in games. Check it out here: Souths Junior Fan Zone

Souths

Souths

Parramatta Eels

Parra let fans change up their Facebook profile pics by adding a blue and yellow over their pic.

Parramatta Eels

Parramatta Eels

The Eels are offering fans deals for special days like Valentines Day and after match wins.

Eels

Eels

Parramatta have held a Blue and Gold Army Festival fan day where free posters were also given out to fans. More info on the Blue and Gold army can be found here Blue and Gold Army

Parramatta

Parramatta

Eels

Eels

Eels fans can nab $5 match day parking for all home games.

Parra parking

Parra parking

The Eels have flag raisers as well for each home game.

Eels Flag Bearers

Eels Flag Bearers

Young fans have the opportunity to be a junior Eels reporter as well. Junior Eels Reporter

Eels Junior Reporter

Eels Junior Reporter

The team also have a playlist for each home game as voted on by the fans. This was the 2015 playlist:

Parramatta Eels Playlist

Parramatta Eels Playlist

Parra held a ‘Member’s Only’ opportunity to have member’s pictures taken with the Auckland Nines trophy.

Parra

Parra

The Eels are also calling on fans to wear and share their Blue and Gold colours on social media and get behind #BGFridays where fans can win passes to matches and other prizes.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 10.38.32 am

The Sparky’s Brigade allows young fans to participate in digital activities as seen here: Eels Junior Fan’s Site

Parramatta Eels

Parramatta Eels

The free Eels app features include:

– A brand new design theme and layout optimised for the iPhone 5 and iPad devices ;
– Access to the latest team News, Videos and Photo Galleries;
– 2015 Telstra Premiership Draw and Fixtures presented in a round or calendar format;
– Ladder for the Telstra Premiership and Holden Cup;
– Full squad list with Player Profiles;
– Push Notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates;
– Integrated Twitter feeds from the official team and player accounts; and
– Access to all team related sites, including Membership, Merchandise Store, Ticketing, Events Calendar and many more!

Parramatta App

Parramatta App

Sydney Roosters

Easts fans can win their place in the team photo.

Roosters

Roosters

The Roosters app offers:

– A brand new design theme and layout optimised for the iPhone 6 and iPad devices ;
– Access to the latest team News, Videos and Photo Galleries;
– 2016 Telstra Premiership Draw and Fixtures presented in a round or calendar format;
– Ladder for the Telstra Premiership and Holden Cup;
– Full squad list with Player Profiles;
– Push Notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates;
– Integrated Twitter feeds from the official team and player accounts; and
– Access to all team related sites, including Membership, Merchandise Store, Ticketing, Events Calendar and many more!

Roosters App

Roosters App

The Roosters loyalty program recognises the importance of our Members and how valued your commitment is to the club.
Read more at Roosters Loyalty Program

The Roosters have held open training sessions for fans and have pushed out information for fans on how to sync their calendars to when games are on with a fixture list.

Roosters

Roosters

Roosters Open Training Session

Roosters Open Training Session

Roosters

Roosters

Fans can learn how to make healthy recipes as part of the Raw-C program seen here Roosters Healthy Eating Recipes

Roosters

Roosters

Roosters free legal advice for fans from club sponsor

Roosters Legal Advice

Roosters Legal Advice

Wests Tigers

The Tigers held a free trial game for fans.

Wests Tigers

Wests Tigers

The Tigers have free wallpapers for fans to download as well here Wests Tigers free wallpapers

The Tigers app offers fans all the news, videos, photo galleries, draw and results, ladders, statistics, match day information, tickets, online shopping and much more. Wests Tigers App

Wests Tigers are also having themed games throughout the 2016 season. More info here Wests Tigers to adopt themes for all home games in 2016 in bid to boost engagement with fans

Wests Tigers

Wests Tigers

St George Illawarra Dragons

Dragons fans can bid on player worn gear as well as partake in social media chats with players.

Dragons Bids

Dragons Bids

Dragons Bids

Dragons Bids

SGI members can also have their name featured on the member’s wall.

Dragons

Dragons

The free Dragons app offers live stats and more like:

  • Latest Dragons and NRL News
  • Dragons TV – interviews and entertainment
  • Daily News Wire – media, gossip and opinion
  • Draws, Results and Ladder for NRL and NYC
  • Player profiles and statistics
  • Up to the minute Push Notifications
  • Press conferences and match highlights
  • Dragons Twitter feed
  • Ticketing and Merchandise
  • Free updates

Dragons App

Dragons App

Dragons App

Dragons fans can experience an away day with the team as well.

Dragons

Dragons

Fans can sync fixtures to their calendars here Dragons Calendars

Members can also enjoy special benefits like these Red V membership incentives Dragons RED V Incentives

Gold Coast Titans

The Titans held a base camp fan experience at CBUS Stadium on the Gold Coast where members were able to sleep over at the stadium. More here: Titans Camp Out

GC Titans

GC Titans

Titans fans can help the team out on match days by being apart of the Titans crew.

Titans

Titans

Newcastle Knights

The Knights have held a community fan day where fans were able to get their pics with the team in this custom image.

Knights

Knights

The Knights fun quizzes for fans on social media too.

Knights Quizzes NRL

Knights Quizzes NRL

Cronulla Sharks

One of the more exciting fan engagement features from an NRL team this year has been the announcement from Cronulla about their #SharkPark3D virtual reality experience which enables fans to use a GoogleCard viewer or other Virtual Reality (VR) device, put their phone in the cardboard slot and then experience #SharkPark3D virtual reality! More here on Shark Park 3D

Cronulla #SharkPark3D

Cronulla #SharkPark3D

The Sharkies have launched ‘Sharks Rewards’ with fans able to earn rewards for supporting the club. More here: Sharks Rewards

Sharks Rewards

Sharks Rewards

The live streaming of trial games has been a highlight for fans with other clubs also doing this recently.

Sharks

Sharks

The new Sharks app is worth a look too. Sharks App

Sharks App

Sharks App

Free downloadable match day programs are also on offer for fans.

Sharks Digital Match Day Programs

Sharks Digital Match Day Programs

Penrith Panthers

The Panthers have held various player appearances around Penrith.

Penrith

Penrith

The Panther’s have a good deal for fans with a 6 game pass and a jersey for $199.

Panthers Jersey and Ticket deal

Panthers Jersey and Ticket deal

The Panther’s Oak Super Fan also sees Panther’s fans showcased on a special Instagram. Penrith OAK SUPER FAN

The Panther’s have offered fans free legal advice from a local sponsor which is a good idea.

Panthers

Panthers

The Penrith App offers:

– Access to the latest Panthers news, videos and photo galleries of training and games

– Telstra Premiership draw and fixtures presented in a round or calendar format

– Telstra Premiership and NYC Ladder

– Full squad list with player profiles

– Push notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates

– Access to all Panthers related sites, including our membership site and online store

Manly Sea Eagles

The Sea Eagles are giving fans free match day programs which can be downloaded prior to the game.

Manly Match Day Programs

Manly Match Day Programs

Manly also held a members appreciation day as well.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 11.32.37 am

The Manly Loyalty Rewards program can be viewed here.

Manly has also teamed up with Netflix and Daredevil to offer this interesting video series Barrett’s Daredevil plans for round 1

Barrett's Daredevil plans for round 1

Barrett’s Daredevil plans for round 1

The Sea Eagles App features:

– A brand new design theme and layout optimised for the iPhone 6 and iPad devices ;
– Access to the latest team News, Videos and Photo Galleries;
– 2016 Telstra Premiership Draw and Fixtures presented in a round or calendar format;
– Ladder for the Telstra Premiership and Holden Cup;
– Full squad list with Player Profiles;
– Push Notifications to keep you updated at all times with breaking news, score alerts and match updates;
– Integrated Twitter feeds from the official team and player accounts; and
– Access to all team related sites, including Membership, Merchandise Store, Ticketing, Events Calendar and many more!

Sea Eagles App

Sea Eagles App

Fan Engagement 2015 Year In Review: 101 Global Fan Engagement Activations

What a year 2015 has been for fan engagement in the sports business.

From digital delights to giveaways galore 2015 has seen some outstanding fan engagement activations from across the globe. With innovative and fan first ideas ranging from the areas of ticketing, virtual reality, merchandise and food to iBeacon’s, fitness and 3D printing, clubs and stadiums have been working hard to listen and increase the emotional loyalty amongst fans and drive deeper connections through storytelling between all parties. 

As a passionate fan engagement and sports fan, I wanted to highlight the impressive work that has been produced in 2015 by putting together a brief (ok it’s pretty extensive actually) summary of some of the best global fan engagement ideas from this year and shine a light on the hard working marketing, digital and fan engagement teams who do so much for their members and fans across the world.

This is in no particular order and is by no means the definitive list of the ‘best in fan engagement’ from this year however it should be viewed as a launch pad for a discussion about what else was brilliant in fan engagement from 2015.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on anything I’ve missed and I’ll add them to my 2800+ fan engagement Pinterest board here: Blair’s Fan Engagement Ideas Pinterest Board

Finally, a big thank you to all of my sports business and fan engagement followers and colleagues who constantly share ideas. 

Without further delay, let’s get started.  

1. The LA Dodgers always have some of the best fan giveaways with this year’s including a Hispanic heritage night, social media night ‘Back to the Future’ Movie night and Running night, Pups at the Park as well as giveaways that included fans getting their hands on one of 10,000 free yoga mats at Dodger Stadium.

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers

2. As part of NRL Grand Final week the NRL hosted an epic fan zone called NRL Nation at Darling Harbour in Sydney. The site featured digital activations, signing sessions, photo opportunities and much more. NRL Nation

NRL Nation

NRL Nation

NRL Nation

NRL Nation

3. The 49er’s created an interesting ’Ninerfier’ contraption in conjunction with Levi’s that saw fans get ’Ninerfied’ before heading into Levi’s Stadium. The team also gave out free shirts on the opening game day, launched their Twitter vending machine and kept evolving the fan experience with their app that features loyalty rewards as part of the Faithful 49 and also shows you the fastest moving toilet lines! Faithful 49

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers

49ers

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

4. Super Rugby team Western Force held a ‘Superhero Saturday’ themed event which let fans in for free if they wore a superhero costume. Super Hero Saturday

Western Force

Western Force

5. Sporting Kansas City allowed fans to pass around their US Open Cup trophy through the whole crowd at Sporting Park for their MLS game in October.

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City

6. Melbourne Storm gave fans the chance to have their name on the team banner and win seat upgrades on the centre line in a private bar. Furthermore Melbourne also let young fans engage in a junior reporter type activation. The Storm also led the way in increasing loyalty among their members with their Lightning Rewards program. More on this here Lightning Rewards

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

7. Ronda Rousey had a cool activation called #WalkoutWithRonda for the UFC fight against Holly Holm in Melbourne, Australia.

Ronda Rousey UFC

Ronda Rousey UFC

8. The Brisbane Broncos held a live video signing of a new player. Brisbane Broncos contract signing

Brisbane Broncos

Brisbane Broncos

9. The Seattle Sounders march to CenturyLink Field is a fan engagement masterpiece that needs to be experienced and continues to grow every MLS season.

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

10. Carlton Blues used audioBoom’s recording widget to have fans record in their message of thanks to retiring player Chris Judd. The Blues also used audioBoom to record over 100 short audio biographies of club legends and then put these into QR codes around the club house on colourful plaques to encourage fans to visit the club and use their phones to access this special historical team content. 

Carlton also held a 90’s themed game to commemorate the 1995 Grand Final win and they even dropped everything in the club shop by 19.95%. Furthermore their ‘bongo cam’ which sees fans play the bongos on the imaginary drums was a good laugh while the Virgin Australia activation which saw a virtual plane fly around the outside fence was also impressive as it saw a whole row of fans pick up a free return flight to the US. 

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

 

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

Carlton Blues

11. Boston Celtics featured a game called ’Shot in the Dark’ that had a fan blindfolded while shooting at the hoops for a prize at the TD Garden.

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

12. Western Australian AFL teams Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles held good fan engagement initiatives such as the #FlyTheFlag and #TheWestIsFinals that had fans participating on social media.

West Coast Eagles

West Coast Eagles

Fremantle Dockers

Fremantle Dockers

13. The 2015 Rugby World Cup saw over half a million fans come into the 15 fan zones around England. RWC Fan Zones

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

14. Cricket Australia and beer company VB teamed up to call on fans to earn a place in the Australian cricket team by having their name on the jersey. Fans are able to nominate the person who has inspired them to work hard and take action. The most inspiring stories will win their nominee’s name on the shirt of an Australian cricket player for the VB ODI series this summer. VB promotion

Cricket Australia/ VB

Cricket Australia/ VB

Cricket Australia/ VB

Cricket Australia/ VB

15. New fan zones from Sunderland, Chelsea and West Bromich Albion all gave their respective fans extra value on Premier League game days.  

Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge

Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge

Sunderland AFC

Sunderland AFC

16. The Melbourne Cricket Ground listened to fans and lowered the prices of food and drinks and saw massive rises in consumption. The consumption of hot pies increased by over 130,000 units, chips were up 37% (150,000 additional sales) and salads also went up by over 130%. MCG food prices a big hit with fans

MCG

MCG

17. Pittsburgh Steelers held a women’s training camp. Steelers Women’s Training Camp

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers

18. A-League club Melbourne City streamed real time data and statistics from GPS tracking devices to fans during matches this season by transmitting the information directly to the scoreboard video screen at home matches and made the data available on social media apps and its website. Game data to stream live for Melbourne City football fans

19. The NY Mets let fans had a ‘Beer Passport’ for fans who could sample various New York craft beers at Citi Field.

NY Mets/ Citi Field

NY Mets/ Citi Field

20. EA Sports asked fans of the Australian women’s football team, the Matilda’s to choose the player for the cover of FIFA15. EA Sports Matilda’s

EA Sports/ Matildas

EA Sports/ Matildas

21. Orlando City SC put fans faces in their squad numbers on the back of their jerseys.

Orlando City SC

Orlando City SC

22. Melbourne Demons asked young fans to submit a book review which was an educational bit of fan engagement. Melbourne Demons Book Review

Melbourne Demons

Melbourne Demons

23. The NFL’s Baltimore Raven’s created emoji’s for fans. Raven’s Emoji’s

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens

24. The QLD Firebirds ANZ Championship netball team provided free healthy recipes for fans such as nutritious bean burritos and chicken bites.

QLD Firebirds

QLD Firebirds

25. Copa America changed some of Chile’s bus shelters to resemble goals in the lead up to the event.

Copa America

Copa America

26. Sydney’s Allianz Stadium offered free pies to fans who used their mobile food ordering app. Allianz Stadium pie deal

Allianz Stadium

Allianz Stadium

27. While Match.com and MLB.com teamed up in 2014 to give singles another reason to cheer during the season by giving members the opportunity for single baseball fans to connect online, the Atlanta Hawks encouraged fans to use the mobile app Tinder to transform Philips Arena into a premier social networking hub in the NBA as part of their “Swipe Right Night”. Atlanta Hawks Tinder Night

Hawks Tinder Night

Hawks Tinder Night

MLB Singles

MLB Singles

28. The FFA Cup let fans choose the football design for the ball used in the 2016 club competition. Design the Westfield FFA Cup 2016 ball!

FFA Cup

FFA Cup

29. The St Louis Ram’s NFL team created a wellness zone for fans at their stadium complete with football skills drills and healthy nutrition tips. St Louis Rams Wellness Zone

St Louis Rams

St Louis Rams

30. The Central Coast Mariners paid homage to their coastal traditions and history by honouring the Central Coast Life Saving Association with this special jersey for fans. 500km up the road, fellow A-League club the Newcastle Jets did something similar with their Australian Air Force inspired kit for fans. CC Mariners SLS Jersey

CC Mariners

CC Mariners

Newcastle Jets Air Force Jersey

Newcastle Jets Air Force Jersey

31. The NJ Devils held a cross fit workout session for fans at The Prudential Centre ahead of their NHL match.

NJ Devils

NJ Devils

32. The Australian Diamonds wrote fans a sick note pass for fans to give to their employers for the Netball World Cup after their win.

Australian Diamonds

Australian Diamonds

33. The El Paso Chihuahuas held their Wiener Dog Race. I’ll just leave it at that.

34. The Cricket World Cup and Tui teamed up to give fans the chance to win 1M by buying a $30 ‘bullseye’ shirt and money if they caught a six. The $30 shirt, part of the Tui Catch a Million promotion, encouraged cricket fans to purchase the shirt and attempt to cleanly catch a ball for their chance to win up to $1 million. 

Cricket World Cup 2015

Cricket World Cup 2015

35. The Gwinnett Braves let pregnant fans into CoolRay Field for the game and then added that if you went into labour during the game that your child would get a lifetime of free birthday parties from the team. Gwinnett Braves

Gwinnett Braves

Gwinnett Braves

36. The NSW Blues rugby league team had fans names on their jerseys in conjunction with beer company VB.

NSW BLUES

NSW BLUES

37. The San Francisco Giants printed ‘first game’ certificates for fans at AT&T Park.

SF Giants

SF Giants

38. Sydney Swans and ANZ Stadium gave free massages to fans at their AFL games.

Sydney Swans/ ANZ Stadium

Sydney Swans/ ANZ Stadium

39. The NY Islanders held their Beard-A-Thon which is acelebration of the great tradition of the playoff beard. Beard-a-thon® was launched in 2009 and since then, over $3 million has been raised for all participating NHL team charities.

NY Islanders

NY Islanders

40. Richmond Tigers let fans design their own AFL trading card. Richmond Tigers Footy Cards

Richmond Tigers

Richmond Tigers

41. The Rugby World Cup ticket design introduced a Rugby World Cup first as it used augmented reality technology as part of the ticket design to enable fans to engage with the tournament through interactive content. RWC 2015 Augmented Reality App

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

42. The Australian F1 Grand Prix again produced a fan engagement masterclass with in excess of 100 various activations that fans could participate in. However the one that I enjoyed seeing the most and which cost nothing to facilitate was when the gates to the circuit were opened to the fans who then proceeded to bolt to the finishing line while collecting leftover bits of race car tyre rubber along the way. 

AUS GP F1

AUS GP F1

AUS GP F1

AUS GP F1

43. The 49ers and SAP had a few fun virtual reality activations at Levi’s Stadium that included the ‘Quarterback Challenge’.

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

44. Geelong gave a free jersey away to fans who signed up to a three game Cats AFL membership

Geelong

Geelong

45. Charlton Athletic in London put a couch on their sideline for fans to get up close and personal at the game.

Charlton

Charlton

46. The NRL Bulldogs let fans be the game day photographer and also created a private Instagram account to unveil the 2016 jersey. BULLDOGS USE PRIVATE INSTAGRAM TO LAUNCH 2016 JERSEY

Bulldogs NRL

Bulldogs NRL

Bulldogs

Bulldogs 

47. Chelsea FC and the Netball World Cup’s Australian Diamonds created fan zones that featured digital print out’s of fans with star players as a memorable keepsake. 

Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge

Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge

AUS Diamonds

AUS Diamonds

48. The All Blacks and sponsor AIG created the AIG HAKA 360 that in their words ‘Combining a love of rugby with a passion and commitment to innovation for its customers, AIG is pleased to bring Virtual Reality (VR) innovation to All Blacks fans through our branded Haka 360° campaign. The virtual Haka 360° experience app directly connects fans with dynamic All Blacks content which can be brought to life with the use of VR headsets. Imagine standing on the pitch amongst the All Blacks pre-match, watching the team performing the traditional Maori Haka up close. This is the thrill the Haka 360° app and headset delivers.’  All Blacks 360 Haka

All Blacks

All Blacks

49. The Toronto Raptors held #DrakeNight and had perks such as a “Hotline Bling” booth where fans could film their own gif-worthy dance moves within the video’s colourful confines. Those moves were then shown on the Raptors’ official Vine account. Drake Night

Raptors Drake Night

Raptors Drake Night

50. The Gold Coast Titans held a rock and roll night and created a ‘fan of the match’ while bringing back classics like ‘catch the bomb’.

GC Titans

GC Titans

51. The LA Kings and StubHub combined at the Staples Centre to have fans create their own commemorative ticket by going into a ticket booth and adding different features on a touch pad.

LA Kings

LA Kings

LA Kings/ StubHub

LA Kings/ StubHub

52. AFL team Collingwood Magpies gave out free polaroid photos to fans at the MCG.

Collingwood

Collingwood

53. The Detroit Tigers and DooB teamed up to turn fans into 3D models. At a Tigers game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, fans could undergo the “DOOB-lication” process that begins with posing in a 3-D-scanning system with 54 high-definition cameras to capture every angle. After the scan, the photos are sent to DOOB’s processing facility in Brooklyn. The printing process takes up to 18 hours with the curing process adds another week. Tigers fans being turned into 3-D models

DooB Detroit Tigers

DooB Detroit Tigers

54. ANZ Stadium created the ‘Fanometer’ that let fans vote to see if Tottenham or Sydney FC would own the Sydney Harbour Bridge with their team colours. 

Fanometer

Fanometer

55. The O2 and the Rugby World Cup worked together to feature fans names on the roof of the O2 for the ‘Wear The Rose’ campaign. The roof was transformed into a giant, blooming rose and a canvas for fans tweets. England fans can have their own messages of support projected onto The O2 roof

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

56. The NBL hosted an educational night for coaches to attend and learn from the NBL coaches.

NBL

NBL

57. Doncaster Rover’s #MyLocalScream Halloween themed match invited fans to mingle with mascot Donny Dog and the first team players in a day of scary fun, including ghost walks, spooky stories and a special Halloween party with the players in the Belle Vue Bar after the match. MY LOCAL SCREAM

Doncaster Rovers

Doncaster Rovers

58. The Netball World Cup in Sydney featured a brilliant FanFEST that included in excess of 25 interactive, digital and netball themed activations ranging from a nail and hair salon and chill out lounge to skills zones, daily netball fitness sessions and digital lip sync battles that were so popular that every national team squad ended up joining in and doing their own rendition to Taylor Swift’s hit tune ‘Shake It Off’. The creation of the fan experience started long before the tournament with the NWC website offering fans the chance to choose the official on court music playlist, bib bunting for the fan caves of those who could not attend and the establishment of a netball fan dictionary to educate newcomers to the sport. FanFEST also included digital activations from The Creative Shop such as the Fan’s MVP where fans could select their player of the tournament on a digital touch screen, ‘Cover the Court’ where fans could test their footwork, the virtual reality ‘Perfect Pass‘ game which tested fans passing skills and the ‘Cheer Cam’ which enabled fans to record their celebrations to Australia’s previous Netball World Cup wins.

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

2015 Netball World Cup

59. The Tennessee Titans NFL team held a Football 101 day for female fans. Football 101

Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans

60. The A-League had a great fan engagement concept for the A-League Grand Final where they let fans choose a food item for sale in the stadium, who would sing the national anthem, have a say in the man of the match voting, vote on what song the band Peking Duk would play as well as decide what the ‘walk out’ song would be when the teams made their way to the field. It was all part of Hyundai’s Letting the Fans Choose campaign. A-League Grand Final Fan Engagement

61. Leicester City and Walker’s combined to create a special ‘Vardy Salted’ packet of chips for fans of Premier League record breaking goal scorer Jamie Vardy and then had these available for fans along with a note of thanks in every seat.

LCFC

LCFC

62. The Wallabies and Qantas gave fans the chance to choose the design of the Qantas plane that would send the Wallabies over to London for the Rugby World Cup.

Wallabies

Wallabies

63. Scotland’s Hearts of Midlothian football club unveiled a new kit that featured all 8,000 names of supporters who rescued club from extinction and who donated at least £120 to the rescue fund. Hearts Fan Jersey

Hearts

Hearts

64. The WS Wanderers teamed up a licensing deal with rockers KISS to run a limited edition of merch. WSW and KISS

WSW

WSW

65. The Jacksonville Jaguars were the first NFL team to release their own video game. It’s called “Duval Dash,” named after the county that Jacksonville finds itself in. The game at com is an 8-bit game. Jags Duval Dash

Duval Dash Jags

Duval Dash Jags

66. The Australian Ice Hockey League gave fans free rides to the games through Uber.

AIHL

AIHL

67.  The Seattle Sounders let fans design the 2016 scarf design. Sounders Scarf Design

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders

68. Hawthorn Hawks hid a jersey in a park for fans to find and the results were TV gold (and brown)! How this only has 400 odd views is beyond me.

69. The Football League created the ‘Own The Arch’ Twitter campaign to see which team could get the most support. Here you can see Tottenham’s attempt as #SpursAtWembley. Fans given chance to ‘own the arch’ through Twitter vote

Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium

70. The Australian Open Tennis featured a plethora of fan engagement activations however one of the best was the Twitter vending machine that let fans tweet away and receive a code back that they could then use for the vending machine which would in turn drop a prize for fans.

Australian Open Tennis

Australian Open Tennis

Australian Open Tennis

Australian Open Tennis

71. The Cleveland Browns gave a fan the chance to host and interview players (along with free food) as part of their official podcast.

Browns

Browns

72. Auckland’s Eden Park and AirBNB combined to offer fans the chance to stay over at the stadium while the Sydney Swans and the SCG did the same thing in Sydney. 

Sydney Swans & AirBNB

Sydney Swans & AirBNB

All Blacks/ Eden Park

All Blacks/ Eden Park

73. LAFC asked fans to choose the colours of the team’s design scheme from five colours. 

LAFC

LAFC

74. Taranaki Rugby Club had players sleep over night at fans houses. 

Taranaki Rugby Club

Taranaki Rugby Club

75. The Rugby World Cup and Gilbert teamed up to run the #PassItOn campaign that had fans send in a video of themselves receiving and giving a pass of a Gilbert Rugby ball. 

Rugby World Cup 2015

Rugby World Cup 2015

76. The All Blacks and Air New Zealand music video for #CrazyAboutRugby was one of the best music/safety videos created.

 

77. The Seattle Seahawks had a ’Nail Your Gameday’ activation where fans could pick up nail polish in the colours of the team.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks

78. The BlackCaps cricket team released a ‘leave pass’ for fans to give to their bosses for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

BlackCaps

BlackCaps

79. The NJ Devils and a host of other teams all had a designated driver program which gives fans a free soft drink if they sign up to drive their friends home. 13224177b99cc2130ce60312f89a5116

80. The moving sideline contraption ‘SlideLiner‘ was a feature at the Real Madrid Vs Manchester City match at the MCG. 

MCG SlideLiner

MCG SlideLiner

81. The Pittsburgh Penguins and CONSOL Energy Center used ibeacon technology to create a beacon-triggered experience for fans that sent them content that is location specific by way of the Penguins app. Once fans are in the arena, the beacon-triggered content is released, greeting the device users with special content. Once they reach the Mario Lemieux statue, an interactive experience is launched and they are provided with various types of discounts and offers for concessions.

82. The NRL Dragons had a social media booth at their Allianz Stadium game where fans could grab a picture in a special camera booth.

St George Illawarra Dragons

St George Illawarra Dragons

St George Illawarra Dragons

St George Illawarra Dragons

83. The Washington Redskins app gave season ticket holders the team news before the media received the news. Redskins App

Redskins

Redskins

84. Twitter teamed up with the Aussie cricket team for the Cricket World Cup to send back twitter replies to fans who tweeted the team a message of support. The pic that came back featured your name on the back of the team jersey. Similar activations of thanks via twitter replies were also used by the Aussie Diamonds netballers, the Matilda’s and the Wallabies for their big tournaments.

Twitter/ Australian Sports

Twitter/ Australian Sports

Twitter/ Australian Sports

Twitter/ Australian Sports

85. The NY Jets had a ‘Make Your Own Bobblehead’ activation at MetLife Stadium that saw fans create a digital bobble head version of themselves. NJ Jets Game Day

NY Jets/ Metlife Stadium

NY Jets/ Metlife Stadium

86. The MCG hosted ‘Sunday Fundays’ which let kids into the ground for free for Sunday AFL games and also featured a ‘kick to kick’ on the ground after the match and a special kids meal deal with free trading cards. AFL Sunday Funday

MCG

MCG

87. The 49er’s Uplause decibel reader at Levis Stadium and at other stadiums and arenas in the US greatly added to fans creating more noise and support in the stadium with this snap of the crowd reaching 111.1 at the 49ers being deafening. 

49ers/ Levis Stadium

49ers/ Levis Stadium

88. Fan Zones at the Auckland Nines, NRL Grand Final, Aus Open, Cricket World Cup and AFL Grand Final were large and successful fan engagement activations.

CWC15

CWC15

Auckland 9's

Auckland 9’s

Auckland 9's

Auckland 9’s

AFL

AFL

89. The FA Cup asked fans to take a snap during the FA Cup games with the winning picture to feature on the Cup final ticket. Get your Instagram photo on Emirates FA Cup Final tickets

FA Cup

FA Cup

90. Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand listened to fans and brought in NZ craft beers for Wellington Phoenix game days. LOCAL WELLINGTON CRAFT BEER AT PHOENIX HOME GAMES

Westpac Stadium

Westpac Stadium

91. The NFL’s Vikings and 49ers engaged in a ‘Vine Off’ and executed what is the first collaborative Vine exchange in professional sports.  On Monday Night Football Stage, Vikings And 49ers Strategically Execute First ‘Vine-Off’

92. The MLB introduced ’SnapBat’ which was a red and white baseball bat that took selfies of fans and players. 

Snap Bat MLB

Snap Bat MLB

93. For the first time ever, fans decided the AT&T MLS All-Star captain using Snapchat. Fans had to take a screenshot of the player they wanted to be captain with one screenshot equalling one vote. For the first time ever, fans will decide the AT&T MLS All-Star captain using Snapchat

MLS

MLS

94. US Open fans were able to try to return Maria Sharapova’s 100mph serve via virtual reality. US Open Fan Engagement

95. The LA Kings had a neat virtual reality set up at Staples Centre whereby you could have your pic taken standing in front of a screen and then afterwards the mascot or player were in the picture with you. More on this here: Toshiba is pleased to feature PictureMe app in LA Interactive located next to the Figueroa Bar on the main concourse of STAPLES Center. This new mobile app is allows fans to take photos with ‘digital doubles’ of star Kings players. Operated from a media console embedded within Toshiba’s 65-inch Touch and Get kiosk, the augmented reality app projects a digital image of the selected player adjacent to the fan allowing for a memory-making photo opp. Kings introduce new off-ice elements as season begins

LA Kings

LA Kings

LA Kings/ Staples Centre

LA Kings/ Staples Centre

96. Taranaki Rugby Club had an offer whereby if a player scored four or more tries then every fan received free hot chips. 

Taranaki Rugby Club

Taranaki Rugby Club

97. The Tampa Bay Bucs launched RED which was a new campaign aimed to “celebrate the female fan base’ that featured game-day style tips to experiencing the Bucs all-new virtual reality quarterback training technology.  RED Women’s Movement – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Bucs

Tampa Bay Bucs

98. The MLB had a Twitter lock down to celebrate National Coffee Day meaning that only MLB followers could access the deals and giveaways. 

MLB

MLB

99. Major League Soccer team NYCFC let fans choose the captain’s armband design. 

NYCFC

NYCFC

100. Hibernian asked for fan input into what colour they wanted for their 2016/17 home strip. Hibs fans asked to pick favourite shade of green for new home shirt

Hibernian

Hibernian

101. Proving just how simple and easy fan engagement can be, the Seattle Sounders MLS team had a ‘Smile Cam’ at their fan appreciation day in October. 

Seattle Sounders/ CenturyLink Field

Seattle Sounders/ CenturyLink Field

 Thanks for reading.

Please feel free to share your ideas from the year that was in fan engagement. 

Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

Fan Engagement for the 2015 AFL and NRL Grand Finals

NRL & AFL Grand Final's 2015

NRL & AFL Grand Final’s 2015

It’s that time of the year again as the top two teams in both the AFL and NRL battle it out to see who will win their codes respective Grand Final.

On Saturday the Hawthorn Hawks take on the West Coast Eagles at the MCG while Sunday sees an all Queensland derby with the Brisbane Broncos trying to win their 7th rugby league grand final against the North Queensland Cowboys at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.

The action on the field is set to provide two classic close battles but whats happening off the field for fans in terms of fan engagement is also something for fans of both codes to get excited about.

*I’ll continue to update this for all teams as the week goes on and more fan engagement activities come to light.

Starting with the Aussie Rules and from Wednesday the AFL and Foxtel have a free family oriented fan ‘Footy Festival’ zone happening at the MCG with the ‘Best Of Melbourne’ featuring food, movies, merch and more. The free live site will feature a huge range of interactive displays, prize giveaways and challenges for the football fan, including: try your luck kicking your own Coates goal of the year into a mini excavator bucket, take a screamer in Toyota’s Hilux – unbreakable mark experience, compare your OPSM hand/eye coordination and reaction times to AFL stars, grab a pic of yourself with the Premiership cup and try Telstra’s interactive kicking screens. More details here.http://www.mcg.org.au/things-to-do/foxtel-footy-festival

AFL Footy Festival

AFL Footy Festival

AFLGF MCG Footy Festival

AFLGF MCG Footy Festival

Australian Mint offering special one off coins for AFL GF Footy Festival

Australian Mint offering special one off coins for AFL GF Footy Festival

Free MCG AFL posters for fans at Footy Festival

Free MCG AFL posters for fans at Footy Festival

The day after the GF fans can also take part in the MCG Open Day with a host of activities like having your pic taken with a replica AFL trophy. More herehttp://www.mcg.org.au/whats-on/latest-news/2015/august/mcg-open-day-returns

MCG Open Day

MCG Open Day

Friday here in Melbourne is a public holiday for the first time and will see thousands of fans out in force for the AFL Grand Final parade through the city. The Toyota AFL Grand Final Parade takes place on the 2nd October 2015 from 12pm and provides a chance for supporters of all age groups to see their favourite players who will take to the field in the Grand Final. Marching bands, roving entertainment and many others will join the cavalcade of Toyota HiLuxs carrying the two Grand Finalist teams along the route from the Old Treasury Building to Yarra Park at the MCG.

AFL GF Parade

AFL GF Parade

Both teams are also engaging fans via social with the Hawks catch cry hashtag being #PlayYourRole while the Eagles have #TheWestIsFinals and #GoEagles

#GoEagles

#GoEagles

#PlayYourRole

#PlayYourRole

AFL Retiring AFL Legends Lap Of Honour

AFL Retiring AFL Legends Lap Of Honour

The retiring AFL legends lap of honour is happening all over Victoria too. http://m.afl.com.au/lap-of-honour

 

AFL Retiring AFL Legends Lap Of Honour

AFL Retiring AFL Legends Lap Of Honour

Not only will music stars like Bryan Adams play before the game on Grand Final day but afterwards fans will also get to go on the field for a post match gig. Fans can also attend the ultimate post-match celebration when the MCG opens its gates to the public via Gate 4, 5 and 6 from 6pm on Toyota AFL Grand Final day. Enjoy a concert from the Grand Final day artists (featuring Bryan Adams and Ellie Goulding) before the 2015 AFL Premiers are presented to the crowd.

Fans can win a golden seat at the MCG for the big match as well.

AFL GOLDEN SEAT

AFL GOLDEN SEAT

Carlton Draft are also hosting an outside bar for 3000 select fans called the Carlton Draught Grand Final Front Bar where fans can rub shoulders with AFL personalities, win giveaways and last minute tickets into the MCG.

Carlton Draft Bar

Carlton Draft Bar

 

In terms of the two teams, the Hawks have also run some pretty cool fan engagement in the lead up to the big match as star player Luke Hodge has been leaving jerseys around Melbourne for lucky fans. First in, best dressed was the call here http://m.hawthornfc.com.au/video/2015-09-26/hodges-surprise-to-fans

Hawks Jersey Hunt

Hawks Jersey Hunt

Hawks Jersey Hunt

Hawks Jersey Hunt

The Hawks have these special shirts to get fans pumped while also a lottery for fans to win what must be some of the last tix to the game.

Hawks Lottery

Hawks Lottery

Hawks Shirt

Hawks Shirt

 

Hawks FREE Training Session

Hawks FREE Training Session

Hawks FREE Training Session

Hawks FREE Training Session

 

Conversely the Eagles are having a ‘March to the G’ with supporters encouraged to don their colours on Saturday while Domain Stadium back in Western Australia will host a live site for fans to have a picnic on the field and a kick to kick as well http://m.westcoasteagles.com.au/news/2015-09-27/bankwest-live-site-at-domain-stadium?camefrom=EMCL_783800_33259721.

WCE March to the G

WCE March to the G

WCE Domain Stadium Live Site

WCE Domain Stadium Live Site

WCE Domain Stadium Live Site

WCE Domain Stadium Live Site

On Monday the team has a free opening training day in Perth for fans to cheer on the team with face paining and temporary tats for young fans.

WCE Open Training

WCE Open Training

http://m.westcoasteagles.com.au/news/2015-09-27/open-training-tomorrow?camefrom=EMCL_783800_33259718

The Eagles also have a fan gallery here as well where fans can contribute their pics. http://m.westcoasteagles.com.au/finals/finals-fan-gallery

WCE FAN GALLERY

WCE FAN GALLERY

West Coast are using SnapChat to engage fans with press conferences and player chats as well.

WCE Snapchat

WCE Snapchat

10,000 fans flocked to Domain Stadium on Monday for the free opening training session.

WCE Training Session

WCE Training Session

 

NRL GF ANZ Stadium

NRL GF ANZ Stadium

As for the the NRL, ANZ Stadium in Sydney has fans covered with team bars, a special gig by Aussie legends Cold Chisel, giant merch tents, family-friendly activities and food stalls.

NRL GF

NRL GF

The NRL also has the launch of NRL Nation, an interactive fan site at Darling Harbour, on Thursday with a special appearance from the two Grand Final Teams and Cold Chisel.

NRL NATION

NRL NATION

NRL Nation will feature unique interactive experiences including an NRL National Stadium, while there will be meet-and-greet opportunities with NRL stars and legends, skills tests and other free entertainment.

NRL Nation runs through to Saturday with loads of free entertainment, player and legend appearances and activities. More here http://m.nrl.com/nrl-nation-at-darling-harbour/tabid/10874/newsid/89075/default.aspx

NRL NATION FIT SESSION

NRL NATION

A healthy part of this is also a free fitness NRL based session for fans to participate in. NRL FIT Sessions will be a unique opportunity to participate in a training session with former NRL stars.  Led by one-time Canberra Raiders Captain and current NRL Community Ambassador – Alan Tongue – the NRL FIT Session is a group-based outdoor workout session which will get the blood pumping at any fitness level. More here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1mB5ztp0Ug32607G4gvo-gqAydMhhXE0xlvALnW_Fdes/viewform?c=0&w=1

NRL NATION FIT SESSION

NRL NATION FIT SESSION

NRL Australian Minted coins

NRL Australian Minted coins at NRL Nation for fans

The NRL are launching Periscope TV at the Dally M Medal night too.

NRL Periscope

NRL Periscope

The teams will also participate in Grand Final  Community Fan EventsThroughout the week where there will be a chances for fans and members of the two teams to get up close to the players before the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final.

The NRL are showing the game live on NINE and for the first time in HD so fans will be in for a treat here. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/rugby-league/nrl-grand-final-to-be-shown-on-channel-nine-in-hd-20150928-gjwleo.html

HD NRL

HD NRL

On social the Cowboys are galvanising support under the hashtag of #RideEmCowboys while the Broncos have #BronxNation. The NRL also have their own with #NRLGF. All have the team logos and the trophy as well.

NRLGF

NRLGF

#RIDEEMCOWBOYS

#RIDEEMCOWBOYS

#BRONXNATION

#BRONXNATION

As for the teams, the Broncos are getting fans to show their true colours by asking them to join the #BronxNation and ‘Bronco-ify’ their profile pic. More here http://www.broncos.com.au/info/join_the_bronxnation.html

Broncos-ify Facebook Pic

Broncos-ify Facebook Pic

Broncos-ify Facebook Pic

Broncos-ify Facebook Pic

The Cowboys unveiled this fan banner at last weeks finals game and due to its success, it should make a comeback for the Grand Final.  A good idea for fans to leave their message of support.

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

 

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

NQ Cowboys Fan Banner

More info here on the Cowboys banner and how fans are being asked to be involved.

NQ Banner

NQ Banner

The Cowboys are also hosting a free open training session for fans too.

NQ Cowboys open training session

NQ Cowboys open training session

NQ Cowboys GF March

NQ Cowboys GF March

 

The team are getting fans behind them on social.

NQ Cowboys social media

NQ Cowboys social media

 

Cowboys fans can even get their hands on these special NFLGF shirts

Cowboys NRLGF shirts

Cowboys NRLGF shirts

Away from Sydney, the Cowboys Leagues Club will be hosting a free live site.

NQ Cowboys Live Site

NQ Cowboys Live Site

NQ Cowboys Live Site

NQ Cowboys Live Site

The week is shaping up as a big one for classic footy encounters but also a big week for whats happening off the field in fan experiences for the crowds.

I’ll keep updating this as more fan engagement activations come in over the course of the week.

But for now, who are you tipping between Cowboys and Broncos and Hawthorn and West Coast?

Thanks for reading.

An Australasian Perspective: Fan Engagement Down Under 2014 Review

2014 Australian Fan Engagement Review

2014 Australian Fan Engagement Review

Fan engagement activations from sporting clubs and stadiums are taking the US and UK by storm but are also becoming ever more creative and exciting down in the Southern Hemisphere in Australia and New Zealand. Fans young and old are enjoying the experience of being able to watch the game on the field but also engage with the same game on their second screen and in turn fan loyalty is being rewarded with extra incentives like seat upgrades, prizes and digital media activations coming to fans from every angle. Subsequently there are impressive fan engagement lessons to be learnt from Aussie Rules to rugby league and netball to football from what is taking place in the world of fan engagement down under.

Pie Beacon at MCG

Pie Beacon at MCG

 

It’s clear from my experience travelling the length and breadth of the country in 2014 that every sporting team and stadium in Australia and New Zealand are doing very impressive fan engagement initiatives for their supporters and have the interests of these fans right at heart as they know that this will lead to creating the ultimate spectator experience as well as get more people through the turnstiles. From the gluten free food stand at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium and Melbourne and the MCG’s immense selection of food outlets and use of iBeacon technology to Sydney’s connected free WI-FI at ANZ Stadium and Adelaide Oval’s state of the art audio and visual experience it is clear that our stadiums down here are working hard to give fans more bang for their buck and more valuable lasting memories.

 

SlideLiner at ANZ Stadium

SlideLiner at ANZ Stadium

Within my role with audioBoom I’ve been lucky enough to travel frequently around Australia and New Zealand in 2014 talking to sporting teams and stadiums about how they can use our audio platform for their fan engagement strategies. As I’m passionate about being a sports fan but also in learning what these teams and stadiums are doing with fan engagement for their supporters, I’m also very enthusiastic in promoting and showcasing the exciting things that the talented digital, marketing and fan engagement reps are doing down under for their club or stadiums fans.

2014 has been a huge year for fan engagement activations around Australia and I’ve been lucky enough to take in around 80 events here across football, AFL, rugby league, cricket, rugby, netball, hockey, motor racing as well as major events like the fan engagement overload that was both the MLB Opening Series in Sydney and the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

AUS GP Melbourne

AUS GP Melbourne

As a way of shining a light on how well I think Australia and NZ are doing in the fan engagement ranks I have listed a selection of some of the best fan engagement activations that I was able to witness in 2014. There are probably a thousand other ideas from clubs and stadiums far and wide however that are equally as good, however these are just some of the best ones from examples that I was able to witness on my travels.

In March I attended both the Australian Grand Prix Formula One in Melbourne and the Opening Game of the MLB series in Sydney at the SCG. The AUS GP is a fan engagement mecca with a multitude of activations on offer for fans from the #AUSGP twitter hashtag stand for fan photos, classic car roadshow, free Daniel Riccardio face masks, live music on festival type stages, fan zone bars with public access, free kids face painting and action zones featuring race car simulators.  At the Major League Baseball opening game at Sydney’s Cricket Ground the sheer scale of what the event organisers Moore Sports pulled off with this event from securing the correct dirt for the pitching mound to make the stadium look like an American baseball ground was incredible to witness. However it was also all of the fun fan engagement on offer for baseball fans that really was impressive and definitely enhanced the day out at the ground. Outside the ground there were photo opportunities with the MLB trophy, batting cages and pitching zones to merch tents with free giveaways. Once inside the ground there were special zones set up including the ESPN Fan Deck, which featured free merch for fans like inflatable ESPN foam hands and customized beer holder cups. The event also provided a smorgasbord of American food varieties including giant 60cm hot dogs, bacon on a stick and ice cream in baseball helmets, which definitely had fans excited.

ESPN Freebies at the SCG

ESPN Freebies at the SCG

MLB at the SCG

MLB at the SCG

The National Rugby League (NRL) had an impressive year with fan engagement activations from the Brisbane Broncos and Manly Sea Eagles giving away free flags to fans at games, to Allianz Stadium and the Kangaroos test match rewarding fans with a ‘Seat and Eat’ offer where fans could eat as much as they could during the game. The Newcastle Knights teamed up with SportsBet to feature fans twitter names on the back of their jerseys while the NSW State of Origin rugby league team changed the sponsor words of beer Victoria Bitter on the front of their jerseys to feature fans names. The North Queensland Cowboys gave out free cut out headgear masks of star player Johnathon Thurston to fans while the Broncos also developed an away day cinema room for fans at their club house and gave out a prize to all members at their final home game through a lucky dip bin. The Penrith Panthers had a novel idea by letting fans buy cheaper jerseys if they traded in their old ones which then went to a worthy charity and the Melbourne Storm held a 31 day Instagram challenge which encouraged fans to tag a photo and follow a new theme like try celebration or tickets for example. Five NRL teams also engaged fans by donning special super hero jerseys featuring Wolverine, Captain America and more that were sold to fans and worn during games.

Seat and Eat at Allianz Stadium

Seat and Eat at Allianz Stadium

Newcastle Knights

Newcastle Knights

Broncos members lucky dip

Broncos members lucky dip

Storm Instagram Challenge

Storm Instagram Challenge

 

The Australian Football League (AFL) also rolled out the fan engagement royalty for fans with the Hawthorn Hawks having a fan guard of honour and Port Adelaide Power continuing to build on their theme song by getting fans to sing the INXS classic ‘Never Tear Us Apart’  in unison at home games. The Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns also had two of the best fan zones I witnessed on my travels in 2014 with Brisbane’s ‘Lions Park’ having skills and drills activities and photo stands whereas the Suns featured a live music area called the Fifth Quarter and loads of fan incentives like seat upgrades and food offers as well as allowing members to present players with their jerseys at the fan day. The Sydney Swans offered fans a 2 for 1 ‘Bring a Buddy’ deal to home games as a smart marketing tie in with their star player Buddy Franklin. Many teams emblazoned their jerseys with their members names while the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Demons featured a women’s exhibition game before a main game and the Richmond Tigers used a photo-tagging platform to enable fans to tag their location at the match. Carlton Blues also used audioBoom to record player biographies, which were then linked to QR codes that were placed around their headquarters so that fans could tour the ground and learn and engage with the history of the club. The home of AFL, the Melbourne Cricket Ground also featured new iBeacon technology which saw roving meat pie sellers fitted with “iBeacons’’ that send messages via Bluetooth technology to supporter’s smart phones as they move around the stadium. Fans who have downloaded the MCG app have a message telling them a pie boy is nearby and are then handed a free Four’N Twenty meat pie when they show their mobile notification message. The MCG also encourages fans to ‘tweet the crowd’ whereby the fan that is closest to the correct crowd figure wins a special rewards. As can be seen from these examples in fan engagement, the AFL and its teams are enhancing the spectator experience of fans.

Gold Coast Suns

Gold Coast Suns

Australia’s domestic football competition, the A-League also featured many diverse fan engagement activations which included giveaways like free shoelaces for fans, digital activations like trivia at the A-League All Stars game and double header matches featuring the women’s teams playing before the men’s at plenty of stadiums around the country which was a good way to build support and engagement with the women’s game in Australia.

The Football United tour of New Zealand featuring West Ham and Newcastle United at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium showcased a tantalizing range of food and beverages at their newly opened fans public bar that would rival some of the member’s bars at stadiums around the world. The Football United App and use of TagBoard at the ground were also good digital activations in Wellington that got fans engaging on their second screens at the double-header match.

Football United Tour of NZ

Football United Tour of NZ

Perth Glory utilized QR codes to have fans vote for their man of the match while the Western Sydney Wanderers encouraged fans to share the footage they record at games to the teams Instagram and Twitter accounts as a way of bringing fans closer to the club. Brisbane Roar held a group fitness day for fans and the Central Coast Mariners constructed a beach bar at one end of their ground where fans could swim behind the goals and take in quality food and drinks all while the main game was taking place. The Mariners also held a Superhero Saturday, which encouraged fans to dress up as their favourite superhero on game day. The Australian national team, The Socceroo’s teamed up with Twitter to show their appreciation to fans with a personalized and signed team photo in the lead up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Socceroo’s also published a ‘leave pass’ for fans to give to their bosses in the hope of getting off work early to see the team play some of their games in 2014.

Mariners beach bar

Mariners beach bar

Perth Glory

Perth Glory

 

Socceroos Leave Pass

Socceroos Leave Pass

 

But it’s not just the AFL and NRL leading the way with the Australian Rugby Union using the innovative experience of the SlideLiner at both ANZ Stadium and Suncorp Stadium. The SlideLiner was a four-person fan bench structure that sat on an 80-metre track near the pitch and moved along the field, following the game as it happened. The SlideLiner was equipped with Samsung technology so fans can share images through social media. The Queensland Reds Super Rugby team also featured personalied player mascots and enrolled the services of a cute red heeler puppy which were both a big hit with fans young and old. The National Rugby Championship (NRC) competition also featured match day programs,which could be downloaded via QR code direct to fans phones or tablets.

NRC Rugby QR Code program

NRC Rugby QR Code program

The SlideLiner

The SlideLiner

QLD Reds mascots

QLD Reds mascots

 

The Australian Baseball League (ABL) also offered fans some very appealing activities with the Brisbane Bandits and Melbourne Aces leading the way. The Aces have set up a dedicated fan zone at their stadium while the Bandits have incorporated food trucks on game nights as well as all you can eat incentives for fans. Another interesting activation by the Bandits was their speed dating ‘singles’ night which could possibly now give Tinder a run for its money for single sports fans to meet that special someone over an authentic ballpark hot dog!

The ANZ Netball Championship also saw plenty of exciting fan engagement with free giveaways at games but one of the more impressive things I noticed was the free healthy and nutritious raw food recipes being published by the Queensland Firebirds team which was certainly a refreshing thing to see in terms of healthy living education. Hockey Australia also engaged fans with their #12daysofhockey campaign which was run across the Hockey Australia, Hockeyroos and Kookaburras social media channels, website and digital platforms and saw fans engage with the national teams via platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and audioBoom in order to win prizes.

Netball Fan Engagement

Netball Fan Engagement

12 Days of Hockey Fan Engagement

12 Days of Hockey Fan Engagement

 

Fan engagement is on the rise in Australia and New Zealand with teams and stadiums constantly looking to improve the match day experience for fans. This review has only touched the surface of all the impressive activations that are taking place down here however there are many valuable and creative fan engagement ideas which can be learned from what the hard working club and stadium sports business marketing and digital media reps are doing to get fans back into the stadium and create these lifelong memories for sporting fans.

 

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